13 Aug 2004

HIV-AIDS programme leader says AIDS education can be combined with traditional values

1:21 pm on 13 August 2004

The head of the Pacific Aids Foundation says the endorsement of a five year regional strategy on HIV-AIDS by the Pacific Islands Forum, is a new start in the battle against the virus.

Maire Bopp Du Pont says the Forum indicated there will be more political leadership and involvement in the fight against the disease.

Ms Bopp says although traditional Pacific values have sometimes been an impediment to the discussion about how to attack the spread HIV, she believes many leaders are beginning to find ways to educate without trampling on traditional values.

"There are ways of using our knowledge on HIV and our links with the traditions and culture so that our culture and tradition is not an obstacle to raising awareness to the education of our people but is actually an asset."

Maire Bopp says Pacific leaders need to remember that if this doesn't happen, there will no-one left to learn traditional values.